When I was finding something to read at the beginning of the holiday that I could just binge, and I found Girl Detached. I knew just by reading the blurb that this was not only a novel I could completely lose myself in, but it was also unlike any that I had read before. I'm happy to say that on both of those counts I was not disappointed.
Girl Detached is a story about voicelessness, courage, and belonging. It is also a story that recounts one of the worst kinds of exploitation. But it is also a story of hope, and hope for a generation that is often prey to the situations explored in this novel.
Intrigued? Check out the blurb...
Aleksandra has issues with her voice. Stress makes her stutter, and her life is one of stress. She can only speak clearly on stage, freed by the words of the character she plays. Then, when Aleksandra befriends her new neighbour Megan, and through her meets charming, handsome Ruben, it seems she has discovered a doorway into a different world, and a different Alek. But Ruben wants Aleksandra to play a particular role for him, and it is one that will come close to destroying her.
This book was anything but an easy read but at the same time, that did not stop me from immensely enjoying this book. The way it was written was so raw and truthful that I couldn't stop myself from being sucked in. I was completely in the mind of Aleksandra; something that I think is very important for a book that explores such critical issues. Salvi gives her protagonist an independent mind, a capability of making mistakes but most importantly, a high degree of compassion. I thought this was a brilliantly successful and solicitous portrayal of the sexual trafficking of young people, and how hard it can be for the people on the outside to see the signs.
I connected to all of the characters and thought their relationships were all very interesting and well explored. I wish that there was a bit more of Aleksandra's home life; once she begins to hang out with Megan, we don't get any development of the relationship between her and her mother, her mother's partner, and her half-brother. I think that more of this would have added a really interesting perspective on Aleksandra's psyche and how it altered when her life changed completely.
Altogether, Girl Detached was all that I was hoping it would be, and much more. This is undeniably an example of another YA novel that has the courage to tackle a serious issue that impacts upon young people and does it in an unflinching and compassionate way. I am so glad this book was published in the UK after Manuela's voice was silenced in Italy. This is undoubtedly a story that needed to be told, and I'm privileged that I was able to read it.
Buy Girl Detached here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Detached-Manuela-Salvi/dp/1911370022
Check out Manuela Salvi here: https://twitter.com/manuela_salvi?lang=en
Until next time :)